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THURSDAY, May 16 — The City Clerk’s Office will begin accepting applications for five more medical marijuana dispensaries May 28 for 30 days, with more emphasis on candidates’ business models.
City Clerk Chris Swope said he will give “even more” consideration to dispensaries that promise to create high wage jobs and offer health insurance and other benefits. Additionally, the updated scoring criteria for the five remaining shops also aims to create a wider buffer zone between the shops that have already been licensed.
The clerk’s Office has either approved or conditionally approved 19 dispensaries in the city. Only four have since acquired state licensure and have opened for business. Any others approved locally will also eventually need a nod from state officials before they open up shop.
City ordinance allows for a total of 25 dispensaries, split into two licensing rounds of 20 and five.
The updated scoring mechanism, which includes an additional emphasis on capital investment, was in response to licensing hiccups in the first round of applications, Swope said. The city has since faced several lawsuits, slowing the entire application process while denied applicants seek to overturn the decision.
Additional weight will be given to business plans that include higher wages, more employee benefits and solid financial stability for longer-term operations. Further, to prevent “clustering” on certain blocks, the distance between the shops will also be given added emphasis when sorting out eligibility for licensure.
Within the same 100-point possible score, eight points will also be awarded to applicants that have already been prequalified by the state for an operating license. Swope said the enhanced standards should streamline the licensure process and allow the ordinance-capped maximum of 25 dispensaries to open quickly in Lansing.